Sports Illustrated’s computer projection system is confident in improvement from NC State this season, while the Pomeroy Ratings, on the other hand, ... not so much. State is No. 109 in the initial KenPom ratings for 2018, which is also exactly where State finished last season.
Coaching changes are difficult to account for, which is why it’s a good idea to take this projection with a larger grain of salt than usual. The Pomeroy Ratings don’t see the Wolfpack improving on its four conference wins from last season, which strikes me as overly pessimistic.
I’m counting on the ol’ coaching change bounce-back; I’m not gonna sit here and with a straight face tell you that NC State will contend for a tournament bid, but usually when teams with a decent amount of talent make a coaching change, the initial results are more positive.
But we’ll see.
The non-conference slate definitely stacked up exactly how State intended, at least. The Pomeroy Ratings of the known foes (two opponents in the Battle 4 Atlantis are not yet determined): 340, 283, 320, 341, 3 (Arizona), 40 (Penn State), 348, 308, 161, 321, 312. State is projected to lose to Arizona and Penn State but is a double-digit favorite in every other non-conference game, save UNC-Greensboro. That’s a pretty comfortable welcome for a new coaching staff.
Overall, KenPom has State finishing 13-16 (again, a couple B4A opponents undetermined) and 4-14 in league play. It has the defense regressing back to the mean—a good thing in this case—and the offense also regressing but not in the good way.
The offense is slotted at a pessimistic No. 89 overall, more than 40 spots lower than it finished last season. If the offense does drop to 89th or thereabouts, it’ll be the worst Wolfpack offense since the tail end of the Sidney Lowe era. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, because I do not need that pain in my life.